Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Twin Cities Marathon 2014: My 40th Marathon!

Twin Cities Marathon 2014: My 40th Marathon! 

I can’t even believe that I’ve run 40 marathons. I remember when I first decided that I was going to become a runner. I wrote out my plan. I was going to quit drinking, quit smoking, begin to drink water, to walk, to change my diet, to lose weight and become a runner. In that order. It was the day I became a goal setter.  I wanted the lifestyle that I believed a marathoner would live.

I created that life. I am living that life. I love every day.

This recovery from Superior 100 has been a bit longer than not only my other hundred mile finishes but longer than the other two Superior 100 mile finishes as well.

I didn’t have any of the body fatigue or soreness that sometimes follows a 100 but I did / still do have very sore feet. My poor feet-both were painfully blistered and swollen. After the inflammation subsided and the blisters had dried I was still having foot pain. I described the symptoms to Karl  and he was pretty sure I was suffering from Morton’s Neuroma –as he suffers from the same.  Sure enough, it is the diagnosis I received. I then had a shot of cortisone which I don’t believe did  anything to better than pain.  I posted my dilemma to FaceBook and learned of others suffering from the same problems and the ‘work arounds ‘ they are implementing.

I went into Twin Cities Marathon  not knowing if I could finish due to the foot.  I decided I’d start and then stop if the pain became unbearable. I should have remembered I’m not really sure what unbearable is!

The ride down to Minneapolis was a treat. I rode down with my group of friends that I did RAGNAR as well as Get Lucky and Grizzle Grind together. We’ve had a lot of fun running together this year!  We had a perfect parking spot a few blocks from the start.

The marathon implemented a wave start this year. It really worked well. There was NO congestion, no walking for the first mile. Very slick.

It’s really cool to run down Hennepin Avenue-normally a high traffic area.  Marathon morning it is closed to just the runners. Fabulous!  About a mile from the start I had to stop to go pee.  Instead of waiting in line for a port a pottie near the Walker Art Center I opted to pee with the guys and just stood near the fence, thrusting my hips forward and pulling my shorts to the side. Genius!

The volunteers were amazing! I carried a handheld so each time I needed a refill I stopped at the aid table and the volunteer was very happy to fill my bottle with either water or Gatorade. When asked what I’d like I said whatever is in your jug.

I hadn’t run Twin Cities Marathon since 2012. Many memories came back to me of the past 9 TCM’s I’ve run. People along the route, aches and pains, joys of Boston Qualifiers, tripping over a rake..running Ann’s first TCM where she noticed her tumor in the bathroom stall next to me..…I miss her so. RIP sweet friend, 9 years this February. I was going through the snippets of memories as they were flashing before my eyes.

After Hennepin we ran up the hill through Kenwood and onto the Lakes. Lake of the Isles, Calhoun and Harriet. As I was running Calhoun I looked over and saw Bonnie’s apartment of years gone by towering above the tree line.  I remembered the morning we met at her place  and ran 10 hours around the lakes in prep for McNaughton 100.  The trails were too icy so we ran the roads. Good times. Great memories. Man, we’ve shared a lot. I miss it.

Running around Harriet I thought about all of the fat ass 50Ks I ran with so many friends who no longer run. I never thought those days would end. We are now only a few. Wonder who will be there this December?

I looked to see if Jeffrey would be standing in the spot that I’ve come to see him so many years running TCM.  Nope..I didn’t see him there. No Cowbell.

My foot began to bark at me. Not badly, but it was getting there.

Minnehaha Parkway. A nice long stretch before we hit the River.  Lake Nokomis-too many memories to list!  Forefront in my mind was my FANS 116 mile run. What a day! I thought of the people I shared that day with. I love them so.

By the time I hit  West River Road I was a hurting unit.  I tried to stretch out my toes, give them a bit of space. I had just purchased a brand new pair of my favorite road shoe in a wide this time for more space. Ascis Kayano. I had plenty of support and cushion. I popped an Advil. It took the edge off.

Well, I wasn’t going to stop at 18 miles. No thanks. I’d finish this.  Put the pain away. Disconnect. Ignore. I’m good at this.

I was realizing about this time that I wasn’t really having that much fun. I really wasn’t digging the asphalt and I remember thinking hmmm…this might be my last marathon. I realized I much rather spend my time on trail. I was tired of buildings and concrete and crowds of people whom I didn’t know.

As I neared Summit Avenue I looked for John. I normally see him here. Sure enough, I managed to yell out to him!  It was really nice to see a friendly face.

I continued down Summit, taking in all of the people and their signs, tiring of the large crowds. I knew I was approaching Mile 24 where the TCRC (Twin Cities Running Co)crew would be.

My eye caught Nancy and Alicia in the crowd!  I couldn’t believe it. I ran over for big hugs. So nice to see them along the course! More memories!! So many, too many to list!

I could see the TCRC RV up ahead.  I waved to Kurt, shouted out and moved on.  Two more miles!

The final push is so much fun at TCM. The bells were ringing in the St Paul Cathedral, the flags were flying out about the finish line, the State Capital in view.  I looked at my watch: 4:38. 

We all met at the “O” Sign for our finish photos and our ride home. It was so much fun to hear the adventures each had. What a splendid finish!  I was so spoiled, I had a ride home, too! 

My foot is still not right. It isn’t too bad with a shoe on, but barefoot it feels like I am walking on an acorn.

I’ve had a great come back year for 2014 and the goal was Superior 100.  I did it! A year ago I was walking around with a boot upon my broken ankle.  I feel so blessed. I may just take some time off and heal my running body, lift heavy stuff, recoup and recharge for my next training cycle

After Wild Duluth on Saturday? Not sure, yet.